Texas slams the Yankees

August 4, 2008 9:32:55 PM PDT
Marlon Byrd hit a game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning and the Texas Rangers, long after Joba Chamberlain left with a shoulder injury, snapped a 10-game home losing streak to the New York Yankees with a 9-5 victory Monday night. Already missing No. 1 starter Chien-Ming Wang and right-hander Phil Hughes from a top-heavy rotation, the Yankees lost Chamberlain when he came out with a stiff right shoulder in the fifth.

Chamberlain will return to New York on Tuesday for tests, and manager Joe Girardi said it's possible the 22-year-old right-hander will miss at least one turn in the rotation. Anything more than that would be a major blow to the injury-depleted Yankees, who are 2½ games behind Boston for the AL wild-card lead.

"We believe it's muscular," Girardi said. "He's got some stiffness and we'll just see what it is. ... I didn't think it was anything serious just because the velocity was still there."

Even in a tight playoff race, the Yankees are likely to be cautious with the hard-throwing Chamberlain, who said he's never had a similar problem in his shoulder.

"It's a little stiff now," he said. "It's in the Deltoid below my shoulder. Strength is fine, velocity is fine."

After the game, Girardi also revealed that star closer Mariano Rivera was unavailable for the second consecutive game because of back spasms.

"We were a little short-handed," the manager said. "He said he felt OK, but I've got to hear that he feels great."

Girardi said he expects Rivera will be ready to pitch Tuesday night.

Pinch-hitter Milton Bradley drew a walk from Damaso Marte (0-1) leading off the bottom of the ninth. Travis Metcalf ran for Bradley and, one out later, Marte walked Gerald Laird.

After Michael Young flied out, Josh Hamilton walked to load the bases and Byrd hit the next pitch from Marte into the right-center seats. Byrd was mobbed at the plate by his teammates after circling the bases with his seventh homer.

Michael Young and David Murphy also homered for the Rangers, who earned their first home win over the Yankees since July 19, 2006.

New York threatened in the ninth when Johnny Damon hit a two-out double off Eddie Guardado (3-2). Derek Jeter hit a line drive to center, where Hamilton made a tumbling catch to keep the score tied at 5.

Trailing 5-4 in the eighth, the Yankees tied it against Frank Francisco on Xavier Nady's fourth homer in 30 at-bats since joining the team July 26.

Young's three-run shot off Chamberlain in the fifth gave Texas a 5-4 lead.

Chamberlain gave up a two-out single to Byrd in the fifth and when he returned to the mound assistant trainer Steve Donohue and manager Joe Girardi ran onto the field to check on the former reliever, who pointed at his right shoulder.

Chamberlain, who gave up five runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings in his 12th major league start, walked to the dugout and was replaced by Edwar Ramirez.

Jason Giambi homered and had three hits. Robinson Cano also homered for the Yankees, who had won 14 of 16 in Texas.

Giambi's RBI single in the first gave the Yankees the lead. Giambi led off the fourth with his 21st homer for a 2-0 advantage and, one out later, Cano went deep for the 10th time to make it 3-0.

Murphy's two-run shot off Chamberlain in the fourth - his 15th - pulled Texas to 3-2.

Rangers starter Vicente Padilla gave up four runs and six hits in six innings. Texas manager Ron Washington was ejected for protesting two balk calls in the fifth against Padilla.

The first balk, called by second base umpire Bob Davidson, advanced Johnny Damon from first to second. Damon went to third on a groundout and he was waved home to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead when first base umpire Alfonso Marquez called another balk on Padilla.

Washington rushed from the dugout to argue with Marquez after the second balk. Following an animated discussion, Washington was tossed by Marquez for his third ejection this season.

Notes: Girardi started rookie Justin Christian in CF for Melky Cabrera, who came in for defense in the ninth. Girardi said Cabrera - hitless in his last 12 at-bats - could use a few days off. ... Washington said LHP C.J. Wilson will remain the long-term closer even though Washington used Guardado in the ninth on Sunday night. Washington and new pitching coach Andy Hawkins met with Wilson on Monday to determine how to get the reliever back on track. He has allowed multiple runs in four of 10 outings, increasing his from 4.34 to 5.28. Hawkins has detected a mechanical flaw on Wilson's breaking pitches that might be contributing to a recent lack of control. Wilson indicated he might have a tired arm. ? Chamberlain gave up three runs or fewer in each of his first 11 big league starts. ... The gametime temperature was 101 degrees. ? Bradley missed his sixth straight start due to a strained left quadriceps.